SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHTlines 785-810
Anon.trans. Marie Borroff (from Middle English)
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Þe burne bode on bonk, þat on blonk houed,
Of þe depe double dich þat drof to þe place;
Þe walle wod in þe water wonderly depe,
Ande eft a ful huge heght hit haled vpon lofte,
Of harde hewen ston vp to þe tablez,
Enbaned vnder þe abataylment, in þe best lawe;
And syþen garytez ful gaye gered bitwene,
Wyth mony luflych loupe þat louked ful clene;
A better barbican þat burne blusched vpon never.
And innermore he behelde þat halle ful hyghe,
Towres telded bytwene, trochet ful þik,
Fayre fylyolez þat fyghed, and ferlyly long,
With coruon coprounes, craftyly sleghe.
Chalk-whyt chymnées þer ches he innoghe,
Vpon bastel rouez þat blenked ful quyte.
So mony pynakle payntet watz poudred ayquere
Among þe castel carnelez, clambred so þik,
Þat pared out of papure purely hit semed.
Þe fre freke on þe fole hit fayr innoghe þoght
If he myght keuer to com þe cloyster wythinne,
To herber in þat hostel whyl halyday lested,
Auinant.
He calde, and sone þer com
A porter pure plesaunt;
On þe wal his ernd he nome
And haylsed þe knyght erraunt.
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The man on his mount remained on the bank
Of the deep double moat that defended the place.
The Wall went in the water wondrous deep,
And a long way aloft it loomed overhead.
It was built of stone blocks to the battlements' height,
With corbels under cornices in comeliest style;
Watch-towers trusty protected the gate,
With many a lean loophole, to look from within:
A better-made barbican the knight beheld never.
And behind it there hoved a great hall and fair:
Turrets rising in tiers, with tines at their tops,
Spires set beside them, splendidly long,
With finials well-fashioned, as filigree fine.
Chalk-white chimneys over chambers high
Gleamed in gay array upon gables and roofs;
The pinnacles in panoply, pointing in air,
So vied there for his view that verily it seemed
A castle cut of paper for a king's feast.
The good knight on Gringolet thought it great luck
If he could but contrive to come there within
To keep the Christmas feast in that castle fair
and bright.
There answered to his call
A porter most polite;
From his station on the wall
He greets the errant knight.
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Trans. Copyright © W.W.Norton & Co. Inc. 2001, 1977, 1967 - publ. W.W.Norton. Original with acknowledgements to University of Exeter Press.


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